Plot: What’s it about?
Grand Fenwick is a very country, but by the end of this story, it will be under close watch of all the larger nations. In Grand Fenwick, there are serious problems in terms of plumbing and there seems to be no funds to solve the issues at hand. The need for indoor plumbing is almost desperate, as there is no hot water and the citizens are tired of cold showers. The tension grows with each passing season and with winter almost on the horizon, the powers that be of Grand Fenwick decide to hatch a plan. The United States is a wealthy nation in all respects, so Grand Fenwick asks them for some funds, but they know plumbing won’t be the topic that earns them the cash. So they inform the U.S. that they’re interested in space exploration and they need some sponsorship, so the U.S. sends them a generous amount to start them off. The Russians also send cash, as they don’t want to look bad and soon enough, Grand Fenwick has all the funds it needs to have their water troubles solved. But now they need to show some results from their space program, which doesn’t even exist. So it is up to one crackpot scientist and some wine based rocket fuel, as Grand Fenwick challenges the powerful nations in a space race you’ll never forget.
This is the sequel to The Mouse That Roared and while both have become dated, I think this one has held up a little better over time. The premise is very good and while a lot of the references don’t hold up now, there is still a lot of charm and humor to be found here. I like the storyline a lot and with a decent enough cast, it unfolds well and provides a terrific experience. I do admit the premise has lost some steam on the whole, but I think it still packs a nice punch and is worth a look. The Mouse On The Moon has some amusing dialogue at times, but also contains a lot of slapstick style gags, which are hilarious at times. I think fans of classic era comedies will be most interested with this film, as of course, the approach to humor has evolved over the years. Some of the comedy still holds up well, although quite a bit of the humor is dated. In the end, I think this film is still worth the time and even though time hasn’t been kind to all the jokes, I think a rental is more than worthwhile.
The direction of Richard Lester is rather basic in design, but it works well enough and the material is well presented. Lester adds some nice visual touches at times, but never to the extent where it distracts from the storyline, which is good. He simply allows the characters and storyline to take the spotlight and in this case, that was the best choice he could make. His work here isn’t flashy or unique, but it is more than solid and that’s enough for me. Other films directed by Lester include Superman II, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, A Hard Day’s Night, The Three Musketeers (1973), Royal Flash, and Butch and Sundance: The Early Years. The cast here is more than adequate, although I am sure no one will be blown away by the performances. The cast list includes Bernard Cribbins (Make Mine A Million, Casino Royale), Terry Thomas (The Karate Killers, Dr. Phibes Rises Again), Ron Moody (Summer Holiday, Follow A Star), David Kossoff (Svengali, Innocent Sinners), and Margaret Rutherford (Murder Most Foul, Meet Me At Dawn).
Video: How does it look?
The Mouse On The Moon is presented in a 1.66:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. If you want the full frame edition instead, simply flip the disc over and you’re in business. This transfer is decent at most times, but I saw a lot of color distortion and source print flaws, which caused me to lower the score somewhat. I knew the print would have some debris, but this transfer has a little too much in the end, so I was let down in that respect. The colors seem very bright and bold, but I saw a lot of pulses and color shifts, which pretty much ruined those scenes for me. The contrast is solid though, so I suppose not all is lost for this transfer. This transfer is watchable in the end, but it should have been anamorphic and had better color balance.
Audio: How does it sound?
A pretty basic mono track, though this material wouldn’t need much more than this. There is some slight distortion and harshness present, but no real problems surface and the flaws aren’t enough to knock the score much. The music and sound effects come off well, but as usual with mono tracks, have little in terms of range. This is to expected though and since the dialogue is in fine form, I’ll give this one an average score in the end. The disc also has mono tracks in Spanish & French, English captions, and Spanish & French subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains the film’s theatrical trailer.